My dearest friend, a rainy winter evening, the sampling of Hexengeist, and a pleasant Belgian tavern. Thank you Mr. Bessels.
Well, the year 2015 is about to enter the history books. Recent and ongoing severe weather issues ensure it will be a memorable one for many people, but for all of the wrong reasons. In our household, as is usually the case with most everyone, the year 2015 was the best of times, and the worst of times. It was a year of truly epic adventures filled with friends and laughter and, fortunately, not to many disasters or illnesses aside from the occasional cold. So, I can honestly say that we are rather fortunate.
Last year we ushered in 2015 rather quietly, just my dearest friend and I, a bottle of wine, and the watching of various videos about Schiphol airport, how to pack for a single carry on bag trip, Amsterdam, World War I sites in Belgium, and the reviewing of a proposed tour of the Netherlands and Belgium prepared for us by Dries Bessels. As I recall, there was a tangible atmosphere of eager anticipation and apprehension that evening as we were at that time mere days away from our first European adventure. The trip was truly a grand adventure made special thanks to the generosity and hospitality of friends and acquaintances who treated us like family.
Even though the year kicked off with our biggest adventure to date, our travels were rather limited until late October when we made our annual pilgrimage along Route 66. Not that we ever need an excuse for a Route 66 odyssey, but this year the Miles of Possibilities Conference in Edwardsville, Illinois and the need to acquire a new portfolio of images for another book provided the added incentive. In between the two adventures we stayed close to home. That, however, does not mean that we stayed home. There was a trip to Two Guns, and a tour of the site given by Sean Evans shared with Dries and Marion Bessels, and their family, a trip to the Route 66 festival in Holbrook, and other to a festival in San Bernardino. We also enjoyed a most interesting trip to Grand Canyon Western Ranch, and an overnight get away to Grand Canyon Caverns. As always, friends, opportunities to visit with friends, and opportunities for sharing adventures with friends were among the highlights of the year. We had the opportunity to introduce Dale Butel and his crew to the old wagon road north of Kingman, and to share a meal with Jan Kuperus, Toshi Goto, David Heward, George and Bonnie Game, KC Keefer and Nancy Barlow, Wolfgang and Anja Werz, Zdnek Jurasek, his wife, and their charming daughter, Nick Gerlich, Anne Slanina, John and Judy Springs, Mike and Sharon Ward, the May’s, and so many others. True wealth is not measured by the dollars stuffed in the mattress.
Courtesy Steve Rider collection
Our adventures were not limited solely to travel or visiting with friends. With the generous assistance of David Keppel, there was the first, but not last, self publishing endeavor. There was also a tentative foray into the provision of walking tours of historic sites in Kingman. Another milestone was being retained by Grand Canyon Caverns, Ramada Kingman, and the Route 66 Association of Kingman to serve as a promotional consultant. That new endeavor has me eagerly looking toward 2016. I also accepted another book contract, albeit reluctantly as the deadline is extremely short. Still, now that I am closing in on the half way point for the first draft of the text, the book is taking shape and to be honest, it might be my best work to date.
A different side of Jerry McClanahan.
As always, the adventure on Route 66 was most enjoyable. Of course, meeting with old and new friends along the way, as well as the discovery of new restaurants and attractions, were among the highlights. The conference and events in Edwardsville that included good food, visits with friends, and another opportunity to listen to a Road Crew concert was another highlight of the year. The “roadie” party that has become a center piece of these festivals really adds some zest. However, this year, the party hosted by Rich Dinkela and Joe Sonderman was one for the record books, in part because it fell on Halloween night. Thanksgiving this year was a most memorable event. We were privileged with an opportunity to share the holiday dinner with Bernhard and Sylvia Hoehn at Grand Canyon Western Ranch.
Courtesy of Sylvia and Bernhard Hoehn.
Now, as we turn thoughts toward 2016, we bid adios to a most interesting year. In closing the last post of the year, I want to remind you that at the end of January we will be giving away a free copy of Travel Route 66. To enter this contest simply share the story of your most memorable Route 6 adventure.
First, I hope that you enjoyed a most delightful Christmas. At our homestead it was a low key, quiet affair – just my dearest friend and I, a simple breakfast, a few packages, and then a most pleasant afternoon with our son, his fiance, and grandchildren. We returned home, enjoyed a wonderful roast my dear wife had prepared earlier, and shared a bottle of wine. It made for a relaxing, reflective, and memorable Christmas.
Now, lets discuss a new project that will provide you with a broader audience for the sharing of stories about your Route 66 adventures while providing an opportunity to win free books.
Here is the way this will work. Send me you stories about Route 66 adventures, recent or decades ago, include your contact information, permission to reprint, and any photos you would like to share, and I will post them on a special page being set up this week. Once a month the best story will be selected, included in a special edition blog post, and the winner will receive one of my Route 66 books direct from the publisher. As a bonus, if you bring the book with you on a Route 66 adventure that includes a stop in Kingman, I will add a signature and buy you a root beer at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. The first winner will be selected on February 1.
Author Jim Hinckley discusses Route 66 with Nick Adam of the Ariston Cafe
Since shameless self promotion is a big part of this mornings post, it should be noted that I am currently working on another Route 66 book. This one, however, is a bit different from previous projects.
First, the publisher has given me a relatively short deadline, April 15. Second, the focus of this project is primarily on Route 66 in the modern era, the changing face of the Route 66 community, and the people that make the Route 66 adventure memorable as well as special. I also want to highlight the people that are working to ensure that the roads next 90 years are as exciting as the first nine decades, and, perhaps, provide a bit of inspiration by sharing stories about their projects.
If your involved with a Route 66 project from the opening of a new business or building renovation to community revitalization, and would like to share a bit of your story, please contact me. Perhaps I can weave your story into the project. The recent publication of a guidebook to the Kingman historic district and the surrounding area, also in e-book format, both available through Amazon.com was the next step in the evolution of Jim Hinckley’s America, a grouping of services to ensure that travelers get the most from their adventure on Route 66 and the road less traveled, and to provide business owners, communities, and museums with unique promotional opportunities. To this, tours of Kingman and special presentations have been added. These are available through Vayable, by contacting me directly to make arrangements, or by booking a package that includes lodging through Ramada Kingman. I am also working as a consultant with Open Road Productions to develop fully customized tours ranging from region specific ones in the southwest or along Route 66, to multi-week explorations of the entire Route 66 corridor. Please note, currently under development is a self guided tour of Route 66 designed by me that is held in conjunction with the 90th anniversary celebration of the old double six that will take place in Los Angeles at the highways original western terminus next November. If your interested in these services, or in being a sponsor for next years anniversary tour, contact Rick Thomas at Open Road Productions.
Partridge Creek Bridge
Next, in addition to working as a consultant for Ramada Kingman to assist in their transformation of this historic motel into a Route 66 resort, I am also serving in a similar capacity for the Route 66 Association of Kingman on a variety of projects that have as a goal the transformation of Kingman into a destination. Most of these are a part of their visionary 66 Celebrates 90 initiative.
The associations initiative has three primary components; an ambitious program to relight the Kingman historic district with vintage and reproduction neon signs, to assist the organizers of Chillin’ on Beale to make these monthly gatherings into major events, and to develop the 160 Miles of Smiles of marketing campaign that promotes Kingman as being at the center of a vacation paradise.
The 160 mile reference is regards to the Route 66 corridor from Topock to the Partridge Creek Bridge. Technically the distance is closer to 157 3/4 miles but that lacks the catch phrase quality of 160 miles of smiles. On January 16, the fund raising initiative for the associations neon project kicks off at Beale Celebrations. I am will be making a presentation entitled, an Armchair Tour of Route 66, held in conjunction with a dinner, and wine from Stetson Winery. The cost per person for $25.00. Seating is limited so if you plan on attending, I suggest getting tickets early. For more information, for a press release, or for tickets contact Jamie Taylor at Just Marketing, (928)530-2056. There will also be a silent auction, an excellent opportunity to support a worthy cause and promote your business. Afterwards, there will be an informal pub crawl tour in the historic district. That takes us to the subject of neon signs. The association is looking for signs that can be restored. Ideally, these would be from the Kingman area but any signs from the Route 66 corridor would be acceptable. Informative kiosks about the signs history is a part of the program. For reproduction signs, there have been discussions with Joel Rayburn of Glassboy Studios. This companies work is superb. An excellent example is the sign recently installed at the iconic Blue Swallow Motel. I am also providing consultation for the Grand Canyon Western Ranch and Grand Canyon Caverns. Both companies have agreed to let me offer travelers special discounts. Use promo code Hinckley when booking any package at Grand Canyon Western Ranch and receive a 10% discount. I can also provide a discount for lodging at Grand Canyon Caverns, contact me for details. Also, contact me in regards to retaining my services as a promotional development consultant for your business. The last item of the day pertains to the first European Route 66 festival scheduled for July. Unless something rather dramatic transpires between now and July, we will be in attendance. It would be my pleasure to answer any Route 66 related questions you might have, and to sign your books during the event. I hope to see you there.
First, merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to each and every one of you. It is our sincere hope that the coming weeks, and the new year, are filled with laughter, adventure, friends, health, and prosperity.
For my dearest friend and I it has been a most delightful year, thanks to friends and adventures shared with friends. It has also been a year of discovery.
Counted among the restaurants, taverns, and cafes sampled this year that I can recommend is de Prael in Amsterdam. The food and beer were excellent but of course everything tastes better when it is shared with friends.
My dearest friend and I on a windy winter day in Groningen with Hanneke and Karl.
As I have kicked off my suggestions with places discovered on our European odyssey, another that I wholeheartedly recommend would be La Place in Groningen, Netherlands. Thank you, Karl and Hanneke for introducing us to this restaurant with wonderful view.
Stateside most of our travels were on Route 66, There were, how ever a few detours, such as to Jefferson City, Missouri where we discovered Madison’s Cafe, an excellent choice for dinner.
I have one Route 66 motel, and one restaurant, that deserve special mention. When it comes to classic Route 66 motels, places like the Munger Moss, Wigwam Motel Blue Swallow Motel, or Motel Safari most often come to mind. However, the Roadrunner Lodge in Tucumcari represents the dawning of a new era on the double six. It is also an excellent lodging choice in Tucumcari.
Originally two different properties, the La Plaza Court built in 1947, and Leatherwood Manor built in 1964, the complexes were latter combined as one motel. After a five year abandonment, David and Amanda Brenner acquired the property and initiated an extensive renovation. There endeavors will be featured in a forthcoming book.
Even though the property seems a bit plain when compared with the neon wonder that is the Blue Swallow Motel, it is very much an historic Route 66 motel. Even better, the owners have the infectious enthusiasm, genuine interests in their guests, and a passionate involvement with the Route 66 community that is at the foundation of this storied highways revival.
These type of motels are scattered all along Route 66 but are quite often overlooked, by travelers as well as investors. If Route 66 is to remain relevant, if it is to further development as a major attraction, these motels are vital.
There are very few vintage auto courts remaining in any condition but these mid century motels survive in abundance. Properly refurbished, they can meets the needs of large tour groups, retain a Route 66 ambiance, and provide a tangible link to the closing years of two lane highway dominance.
An excellent example of the potential for these motels is located in Kingman, my adopted hometown. The Ramada Kingman began life as a Holiday Inn on Route 66 in the mid 1960’s, and its restaurant and lounge was THE place for proms or political meetings.
Even though stage two of the properties renovation is about to commence, Ramada Kingman with its refurbished restaurant and lounge, new swimming pool, and landscaped courtyard, is already the cities only Route 66 resort. It is also gaining an international reputation.
Next, a Route 66 restaurant recommendation or two. The first is in diminutive Elkhart, Illinois.
I wrote on the Wild Hare Cafe in a previous post but it bears repeating, this is a wonderful and eclectic restaurant that should be added to every Route 66 adventurers list. If for no other reason than a stop for pie and coffee, eating here is a treat. My recommendation is the four berry desert.
Next on my list of recommendations for Route 66 dining is another Kingman location. Do not let the exterior deter you as that is a work in progress but Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner housed in a 1960’s Denny’s offers a very diverse and expansive menu, excellent food, and reasonable prices. For a real bargain check out the breakfast specials.
My dearest friend, author Anne Slanina, and me at Rutherford’s in Kingman.
Towards the end of the year I will provide an expansive list of recommended Route 66 motels and restaurants but as I have a book to write it is time to close this out.
As a reminder the Route 66 Association of Kingman is kicking off their ambitious 66 Celebrates 90 initiative on the 16th of January at Beale Celebrations. I will be making a presentation that is in essence a virtual tour of Route 66, and there will be a dinner as well as a silent auction. Following the festivities will be an informal pub crawl in the historic district. Tickets, $25 per person, are available through Just Marketing at (928)530-2056.
If you know of neon signs that can be acquired for the project, or would would like to donate a sign or make a donation, contact the Route 66 Association of Kingman at (928)753-1314. You may also contact me.
The pending dawn of a new year always seems to spur reflection on what was, and thoughts of a new year tinged with eager anticipation and a hint of apprehension.
My dearest friend and I at the home of Willem and Monique Bor in the Netherlands
The year 2015, just as with 2014 and 2013, was the best of times and the worst of times. I would be willing to bet that 2016 will be described in a similar manner as it gives way to 2017.
Our plans are to attend the European Route 66 Festival in Germany this coming July and I am sure it will be a grand adventure. Still, it will be difficult to top this years odyssey to the Netherlands, our first European venture.
The reward for a tedious flight, the flight delays, and the challenges associated with negotiating the labyrinth of airports, customs, and security was a grand adventure worthy of Jason and the Argonauts. It was also a humbling and educational experience that will never be forgotten courtesy of the generosity and warmth of Willem and Monique, Dries and Marion, Karl and Hanneke, Henk and Jan, Jeroen and Maggie, and so many others.
This was also the year that I finally took the plunge and delved into the world of self publishing and ebooks, with major support and assistance from David Keppel. Amazingly enough, in spite of the multitude of frustrating technical issues, he has expressed eager anticipation to assist with another project. So after completing the current project that has a deadline of mid April, I will most likely dust off the taxi cab book kicked back by History Press resultant of a recent merger, or the previously rejected Bathtubs, Birdcages, and Chevrolet manuscript that was typewritten more than two decades ago.
A winter adventure on Route 66
For 2016, we will kick off the new year with three very interesting endeavors. First, on the morning of January 4, I will be the featured guest on Morning Scramble, a statewide cable television program that originates in Prescott.
The last time I was on this program it was also winter and the drive home on Route 66, for lack of better words, was rather interesting.
On January 16, I will be making a presentation entitled an Armchair Tour of Route 66 at Beale Celebrations. This will be the initiation of the Route 66 Association of Kingman’s 66 Celebrates 90 fund raising initiative for neon sign restoration.
The $25 per person ticket price includes dinner. Wine from Stetson Winery will be available. There will also be a silent auction of donated items, an excellent opportunity to promote your business and support a worthy cause, and afterwards, an informal pub crawl/tour in the historic district. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jamie Taylor at Just Marketing, (928)530-2056. Seating is limited so it might be best to purchase tickets early.
Then, most likely around the 22nd of January, we will travel to Los Angeles. There is a need to update the photo portfolio for the current book but plans also call for meeting with Candacy Taylor who is involved in a most interesting project, and then with Scott Piotrowski to discuss the 90th anniversary celebration that will be a major international Route 66 event at the highways original western terminus.
At this time most of our appearances for 2016 are tentative. However, that list of appearances and presentations currently includes Cuba Fest in Cuba, Missouri on the third weekend in October, Best of the West on 66 in Kingman on the third weekend in September, Route 66 Fun Run, first weekend in May in Kingman, the 90th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles on the weekend of November 11, and the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri in August.
Another development for 2016 that I am rather excited about is an opportunity to make the blog a bit more interactive. Beginning on January 1, I will publish stories of Route 66 adventures shared by readers. A compilation of these stories will be posted on a newly created page, and once a month I will select the best story and provide the contributor with a free book.
At this time I have a short story about memories of a 1949 trip, and another taken in 1957.
I also plan to expand on the program to provide blog readers with special discounts. To date, using promo code Hinckley, I have arranged for 10% discounts on packages at Grand Canyon Western Ranch and, if you contact me in advance, $59 per night room rates at Grand Canyon Caverns Inn.
If you would like to link your business with this promotional endeavor, please let me know. Send an email with details and contact information, as well as when it would be best to call and discuss details.
Speaking of marketing and promotion, Ignite Marketing in Kingman is kicking off an interesting program for area businesses. In essence Kingman Circle is an innovative concept that centers on pooled resource marketing that will provide the small business owner with a wider range of advertising options than are usually available resultant of a limited budget. For more information contact Liza or Angel at Ignite Marketing.
In recent months I have received a number of inquiries about tour and presentation packages at Ramada Kingman. I am pleased to announce that, as per a recent meeting, these will most likely be available by the first of the year and that they can be booked on online at the time of reservation. That is an interesting development for 2016.
In addition, I have also signed on with Vayable to provide similar services for individuals or groups visiting Kingman. These tours and presentations will originate from my new media office at Dunton Motors next to Mr. D’z in Kingman. Here is a link to the Vayable site for more information.
The historic Dunton Motors (1946) facility also houses the offices for the Route 66 Association of Kingman, as well as a vintage car dealership and repair facility. With its restored OK Used car neon sign, it is a great photo stop.
For information about association membership, or event and project development information, such as Chillin’ on Beale or the neon sign restoration initiative, call (928)753-1314 or check out their Facebook page, Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona. They should have a website up soon.
In coming posts I will share a few of the recent neon sign discoveries in Kingman, provide updates on our schedule, and provide updates on the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative. Now, its time to get to work as there is another deadline looming on the horizon.
It is my intent to keep this post short but it has been a most interesting weekend and there are quite a few exciting developments to share.
On Saturday afternoon, the Route 66 Association of Kingman hosted their December meet and greet at the Dunton Motors facility, a dealership that opened on Route 66 in 1946. As it turns out this is also the offices for the association, and where I now have an office with reception area to meet with tour groups as well as media.
It was quite a turn out with about thirty or forty people in attendance. Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner supplied the hamburgers and root beer, and Castle Rock Trading Post provided a few of their signature pizzas.
I should note, the association website isn’t quite ready but there is an association Facebook page that is updated almost every day with event information, membership application information, Route 66 related developments as they pertain to Kingman, or historic photos from collectors such as Mike Ward, Joe Sonderman, and Steve Rider. Look for the the Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona page.
December meet and greet, Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona
As these monthly meet and greet “parties” are always open to members and nonmembers alike, they are a great place to network, sample a bit of the local cuisine, meet with area business owners, learn about new developments, and plan events. If your traveling through town, and the trip coincides with the monthly event, stop by.
Next month the associations get together, scheduled for January 16, will be a bit different as it is the fund raising kick off for the restoration and installation of neon signs that is a part of the 66 Celebrates 90 initiative. There will be a $25.00 per person charge but in addition to the my presentation, a virtual tour of Route 66, there will be a dinner catered by local downtown restaurants, a silent auction, and afterwards, a pub crawl in the historic district. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact Jamie Taylor at Just Marketing, (928)530-2056. Seating is limited.
The historic Bonelli House.
At the get together on Saturday, I met with Peter Gossow, the new proprietor at the old Lake Mead Rancheros complex, now the world famous home of Giganticus Headicus. Extensive renovation is underway and he is making plans for hosting several events next year.
I introduced him to the Plugshare website. Did I mention that he has facilities for charging electric vehicles?
I also met with, and had a lengthy discussion with the pastor for the church that is pushing to utilize the historic Central Commercial Building as their new facility. It was an amicable discussion but I reiterated my position; I support the church and its programs but the building they want to use is the center piece for a commercial district that is struggling to become economically viable. Simply put, this is the wrong use for this historic building.
On Sunday morning, I provided assistance to Josh Noble, the area tourism director, as we shared a few of the Kingman highlights to an international media relations tour hosted by the Arizona Department of Tourism. Our adventure focused on the Powerhouse Visitor Center, and a few often overlooked attractions such as the historic Bonelli House, Desert Diamond Distillery, a state of the art facility known for its award winning Gold Miner Agave Rum, and the Kingman Airport, site of the expansive WWII era Kingman Army Airfield. For lunch we hit the Kingman Airport Cafe, a diminutive little restaurant with some of the best burgers anywhere (just a few short blocks south of Route 66).
A wood fired cook stove and water heater in the Bonelli House.
The Bonelli House is a most fascinating old home. Built in 1915, it retains a surprising array of the original “modern features” that made it a showpiece in its time.
This morning I provided an interview to the marketing company that is developing promotion for Alamo Rental Car. The subject of discussion was Route 66 with a focus on Kingman.
I also confirmed an appointment to interview Nick Adams of the Ariston Cafe on Tuesday, and left a message for Allan Affeldt of the La Posada. The new book is shaping up to be unlike anything I have yet written.
Also on the schedule for Tuesday, a meeting with the owners and management of Ramada Kingman. The topic of discussion is on going renovations and upgrades, how to market the property as the cities only full service Route 66 resort, and event development in 2016.
In spite of the interviews and meetings, including one this evening with the Hualapai Tribe and lodge to discuss tourism and marketing in 2016, and a phone conference with Open Road Productions to discuss the proposed Route 66 tour next fall, the primary focus will be to make an e-book version of the latest book available, and to move the current project closer to completion as I play another round of beat the deadline.
Okay, to wrap this up, in recent weeks I have received a surprising number of inquiries pertaining to availability for presentations. To schedule an event and discuss financial compensation there is a link tab at the top of the blog header with contact information.
At this time, the 2016 calendar looks like this:
January 4, a morning interview on Morning Scramble, cable channel 7 in Prescott.
January 16, the presentation in Kingman.
January 22 through 24, we will be following Route 66 in California to gather photos for the new book, and to meet Candacy Taylor to discuss her fascinating project. The schedule is somewhat flexible so I would be available for a presentation.
April 14, a presentation at Ramada Kingman.
April 23, an event in Lebanon, Missouri.
May 7th, two presentations during the Route 66 Fun Run
May 21, set aside.
July 11 through July 19, the European Route 66 Festival in Germany.